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      07-06-2020, 12:06 PM   #1
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There's a bit to unpack here, but it's mostly the summation of a lack of experience / skill with the incessant desire to progress too quickly.

A little background, after my first HPDE weekend with CCA last summer the track bug bit hard. Between June and September, I spent all my wife approved "spending money" over 11 days with various organizations and instruction. At the end of the season I ran a consistent 2:02 at High Plains while mostly averted the mod fixation (ST bbk, light suspension, AIM Solo)

Well, fast forward to 2020 and the COVID blues, and I had prepped a very different car. Suspension, SC, weight reduction, seats/harnesses, and jumped from MPSS to Toyo RRs. Yes, the writing is on the wall...

First day out this season was a NASA Sunday event running in HPDE ¾. I was very confused and frustrated running > 10 seconds off my pace last year. That said, I tried to check my ego and just focus on the basics namely looking ahead vs getting fixated on hitting marks and getting acclimated to all the shifting I now had to manage with the additional power. So we'll call it successful.

Went out for day 2, last Thursday evening for open lapping before a SCCA weekend. Was wonderful, the track was hot for 4 hours with probably 20 cars coming on / off at their discretion. Suffice to say, after a few warmups and getting the tires to temp I wanted to start figuring out these tires. I guess I figured if I pushed harder, they'd talk. So, I started by tightening the steering mid corner, then in conjunction with more throttle at apex, and lastly trying to carry more speed into the corner. Well carrying more speed in was the harder test, and the tires didn't say anything each time I came in too hot and I spun off the track twice at different corners. Of course, all the 0 consequence spins just made me too comfortable.

Later that evening coming off the front straight into T1 with a GT3 on my ass I pushed it again and lost it. Failed to bring the backend in line and put both feet to the floor as I watched the impending wall get closer before impact. Luckily the car had slowed to 20 mph and hit with a glancing blow into the stacked tires. After a brief panic over potentially totaling my car, I pulled back out onto the track before seeing the flashing red flags. Saw the ambulance and track chief realize I was alright and limped around the track back to the hot pit.

Aside from a lot of dirt, gravel, and scratches my car had almost 0 damage. What I thought were cracks in the bumper with tears in the clear bra. I broke the passenger side headlight housing, severely bent the Mporium aluminum under tray, and lost the headlight washer cover. After checking for any leaks, damage to the suspension, and clearing out rocks from the calipers, I took the car back out on the track to run some easy laps to check the alignment and shake it off.

I spent a good 10 hours Friday stripping the interior and dropping the suspension to check for damage and clean. I'll take it in this week for an alignment to double check my work and check for any additional damage. I haven't decided if I'll replace the headlight housing or just accept given my intentions for the car that it'll no longer be pristine.

The big lessons learned were:
1. RR's were premature. Should've gone with another more predictable R comp to transition from a street tire.
2. The RR's are not very audible, at least at HPR
3. Modifying the car's power doesn't result in faster times, if anything impedes the learning process. The amount of shifting required post SC is a real challenge. Definitely exposes all my heal/toe misses.
4. Racing seats, harness, and HANs device are awesome! I love how loose and gentle I can hold the steering wheel, yet how snug and secure I felt during any spins and collision.
5. Most importantly, what the fuck is the rush to get faster? I let my desire to break 2 mins at this track be a character defining accomplishment. It's ridiculous and embarrassing to acknowledge. I'll equate it to golf, and the desire to be a scratch golfer. NO ONE CARES what you shoot…

I solemnly sweat to chill out. Enjoy the process of pursuing a "perfect" lap. Luckily the lesson didn't cost me my car, because the Mrs. has already made it clear I won't be replacing it.

Oh, there was a photographer. Which was a fun surprise after the fact.
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      07-06-2020, 12:23 PM   #2
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Glad you weren't hurt & the damage was minimal! Like you said the ego might be bruised a bit but the important part is what you take away from the experience - and it sounds like you will be much better for it in the long run & fortunately it didn't take an injury to you or others for it to happen.

One thing - with all those upgrades in speed is your safety appropriately matched? It sounds like that thankfully you didn't get into the wall that hard - but with the speeds that car is capable of do you think you have the safety to match if you got into the wall at a much higher speed? I'm asking as someone who has recently encountered a wall at a significantly higher speed and was able to walk away with minimal issues.
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      07-06-2020, 12:32 PM   #3
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I'm sorry to hear about this experience, although fortunately it seems like everything is ok

Sometimes the times just don't come out and it's hard to take a deep breath and know when to call it quits. Very hard to do.


Last year after installing the AP RadiCal rear brakes onto the F80 CS I swapped wheels at the track to my track wheels and drove it. Immediately I could hear a tap tap tap. I thought it was strange but got onto the track anyway. Something was off. In the back straight of VIR I took it easy and stayed around 100, but by the time I got to the braking zone the pedal went down to the floor because that noise was the rear brake lines wearing against the wheels. Good thing I wasn't pushing it.

At the Glen with a stock suspension and RE71 I did 2:06. Later in the year I got to try again but with R1 BFG and 2WNR MCS. Incredibly I just couldn't match the time. The car was trying to kill me. It made for some good videos but eventually after a 2:07.0 I put the car away for the weekend. Turns out the rear shocks were valved incorrectly.

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      07-06-2020, 12:37 PM   #4
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Hats off to you for posting your experience. Hopefully others can read and learn with you.

I too made the jump too early to a faster tire - MPSS to NT01's. Fought for year to get enough car control to catch slides and avoid spins. It was frustrating. Everything after that I tried to earn. Befitting moving to Hoosiers or Z214's, I established a lap time target with NT01's. Once I achieved that, I moved to Hoosiers but set a new target before getting aero. As OG mentioned, I had good safety gear well before I had fast laps.

As far as noise goes, I found that neither r comps nor true slicks provide any audible feedback. That was part of my issues initially. You have to kinda expect when it will happen and stay well ahead. It is not normal to spin even when testing the limits. I am pretty quick and have a few track records and I haven't spun in more than 3 years...tap on wood.

Keep driving and keep learning.
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      07-06-2020, 12:40 PM   #5
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Ack, that sucks but at least it was just a minor incident.

It took me a while to learn the difference between "checking your mirrors" and "watching your mirrors".
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      07-06-2020, 12:43 PM   #6
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Glad to hear both you and your car are alright - that's the most important thing.

Appreciate you sharing your experience. Luckily it seems your walking away from it as a good learning experience!
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      07-06-2020, 01:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OG Shark View Post
Glad you weren't hurt & the damage was minimal! Like you said the ego might be bruised a bit but the important part is what you take away from the experience - and it sounds like you will be much better for it in the long run & fortunately it didn't take an injury to you or others for it to happen.

One thing - with all those upgrades in speed is your safety appropriately matched? It sounds like that thankfully you didn't get into the wall that hard - but with the speeds that car is capable of do you think you have the safety to match if you got into the wall at a much higher speed? I'm asking as someone who has recently encountered a wall at a significantly higher speed and was able to walk away with minimal issues.
Thanks man. The right answer is nope. I have a BK harness bar which is nice for holding me securely but offers 0 protection. The appropriate upgrade is a full cage. Been chatting with a buddy that could fabricate something suitable but likely won't until next year.
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      07-06-2020, 01:17 PM   #8
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Yeah really happy to share the experience, no sense hiding in shame.

The car has a lot of ability, and instead of pushing incrementally I asked for too much.

The point about checking mirrors vs watching is very relevant and likely partially to blame.

Really appreciate everyone!
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      07-06-2020, 01:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderMoose View Post
Hats off to you for posting your experience. Hopefully others can read and learn with you.

I too made the jump too early to a faster tire - MPSS to NT01's. Fought for year to get enough car control to catch slides and avoid spins. It was frustrating. Everything after that I tried to earn. Befitting moving to Hoosiers or Z214's, I established a lap time target with NT01's. Once I achieved that, I moved to Hoosiers but set a new target before getting aero. As OG mentioned, I had good safety gear well before I had fast laps.

As far as noise goes, I found that neither r comps nor true slicks provide any audible feedback. That was part of my issues initially. You have to kinda expect when it will happen and stay well ahead. It is not normal to spin even when testing the limits. I am pretty quick and have a few track records and I haven't spun in more than 3 years...tap on wood.

Keep driving and keep learning.
Was just on the phone with Gabe, and he said the same thing. It's not normal to spin... If you are you need to park it on the paddock and ask yourself what you're trying to accomplish because it ain't working.
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      07-06-2020, 01:22 PM   #10
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Thank you for sharing.
I good reminder that going fast has consequences to all of us.

I keep the Euro MDM on with hope to avoid a disaster. When I take it off, I focus on driving, not on timing.

I am not convinced the it is a SC, BBK or tire issue. I see many cars off the track with many type of equipment.

The SCDA have a rule that if you spin twice, you are done for the day.

Mostly, I was relieved to hear that you were ok and minimal damage. Looking forward to your post of "when"'you break 2 min going 7/10th
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      07-06-2020, 01:27 PM   #11
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DRLane do you have any telemetry to point to what happened?
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      07-06-2020, 01:39 PM   #12
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DRLane do you have any telemetry to point to what happened?
I have SOLO 2 DL, and should have the data to take a peak but stepped away from spending any more time on it over the holiday weekend.

Obviously oversteer, but not sure if it was induced by lifting off throttle, panicked braking from coming in to hot, or poor throttle modulation. Or as mentioned being too concerned about the car behind me to no longer focusing on the task at hand.
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      07-06-2020, 01:45 PM   #13
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Congrats on making that jump with your car, be patient with basically relearning the chassis all over again. I made a VERY similar bump when I went from HPDE to Time Trials (shaved 350 lbs, seats/harness/hans, Re71r to RRs, etc) and while yes the car felt faster, it was way different! I spent a whole year in time trials with this new setup and even then I felt like the RRs just need a ton of seat time to get used to how they perform. Mine were definitely audible, not as audible as PSS or RE71r but you can definitely hear them

Keep at it!
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      07-06-2020, 03:11 PM   #14
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Chatted with DRLane on the phone today about it. He's in a good place. Definitely learned from it.

His car is quite a different beast than it was last year when I met him at Pueblo Raceway. Supercharged, suspension, different compound tires. It's definitely a lot to take in and learn. And being supercharged with a manual is no joke. Lots of new shifting points.

Anyway, glad you were ok. Hopefully, we can get out to High Plains together and put down some laps in the next few weeks.
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      07-06-2020, 04:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRLane View Post
Or as mentioned being too concerned about the car behind me to no longer focusing on the task at hand.
Glad your car is okay. T1 is one of the only places you can really crunch a car at HPR, and I've seen several really bad incidents there. It's usually a Porsche that ends up over there.

One thing to always, always remember on track: if a car is in your mirrors, they are for sure faster than you. You stand to learn a lot more by letting them by and seeing where and how they are faster than you, than by trying to keep your pace up and stay ahead. Even if its only for a couple corners.
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      07-06-2020, 05:09 PM   #16
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Your gonna rally this! Im glad your OK, and the car is. As a firefighter for the last 15 years, and a racer I've seen some twisted up metal in my day. This isn't one of them. Shake it off and come back stronger! You still have plenty of good track days ahead of you. This is only a minor set back.
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      07-06-2020, 05:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fsmtnbiker View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRLane View Post
Or as mentioned being too concerned about the car behind me to no longer focusing on the task at hand.
Glad your car is okay. T1 is one of the only places you can really crunch a car at HPR, and I've seen several really bad incidents there. It's usually a Porsche that ends up over there.

One thing to always, always remember on track: if a car is in your mirrors, they are for sure faster than you. You stand to learn a lot more by letting them by and seeing where and how they are faster than you, than by trying to keep your pace up and stay ahead. Even if its only for a couple corners.
Totally, that GT3 had been passing me all afternoon so I wasn't anticipating anything less. It was open passing so nothing was required to make a pass.
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      07-06-2020, 07:53 PM   #18
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glad you're ok sir.
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      07-06-2020, 09:14 PM   #19
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glad you're ok sir.
Thanks man. After reflecting on the forum's reactions today, my chat with dogbone and subsequently my wife. I think the real takeaway is actually safety and the reality that it could've much worse...

I'm very guilty of not reflecting on the severity of accidents. I kinda have a wash it under the rug, happy go lucky attitude after really dangerous and fortunate outcome situations. For example, a couple winters ago I set off a large avalanche in the backcountry of Colorado that carried my two ski mountaineering partners. My immediate reaction after the successful self rescue was "it's all ok, thank god" and we should probably not overhype the situation to our wives. I've been a part of countless bad climbing accidents as well, and I think the 35 year old in me is starting to recognize that it's the wrong approach to somewhat blindly believe that outcomes will always be ok.

I'm not suggesting this incident was severe, but I do appreciate that while my gut reaction was "phew, car is safe". I should've also recounted on walking away > the condition of a vehicle.

I posted this, knowing full well that I would likely get some harsh but deserved feedback. And instead mostly the response has been appreciative of my health. So truly, thank you all for helping to remind me of the real outcome.

That said, don't hold back I love driving and will absolutely continue to track for as long as I'm able.
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      07-06-2020, 09:26 PM   #20
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BTW, if you have a minor accident or some sort of close call, best thing to do is go sign up for another track day ASAP.
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      07-06-2020, 09:27 PM   #21
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BTW, if you have a minor accident or some sort of close call, best thing to do is go sign up for another track day ASAP.
I went right back out after confirming the car was ok for a good 30 mins. I'll be back out there either next Friday or Thursday the 23rd.
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      07-06-2020, 09:41 PM   #22
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i've only seen people be too critical on this forum once. there was a dude that rolled the car and the instructor injured his arm. he mentioned the instructor was going to be ok and went on to talk about what happened, the damage to the car, and what was next. he got criticized for being short on the instructor's injuries and talking more about the car and what was next. in reality, i don't see what else he could have done or talked about given the situation.

other than that, this track forum is pretty open and you can talk about a variety of mods and weird things and people are still going to try and shoot you in the right direction politely. it doesn't sound like you did anything out of order or silly. i can guarantee you if i had the funds, i would have a car that far exceeds my capability as a driver (i already have a car that is capable of more than what i can do lol). so just let it rip, show and tell, and don't be shy.
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